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representation, too, serves the purpose very well. False statements will even be made in the heat and hurry of newspaper-like zeal. But the writer cannot hurt me thus. If it be a satisfaction to him to run his head against a wall, he may do so for me. I trust I can serve the interests of truth better than by replying to anonymous attacks in any MAGAZINE.
Error 1. "Dr. Davidson's views of the Apocalypse are not stated in his present volume for the first time. They were put forth in the Eclectic Review,' seven years ago." This is incorrect.
Error 2. "They were repeated in an article furnished for Kitto's Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature,' and are now reiterated with little novelty of argument." This also is incorrect.
Error 3. "Dr. Davidson is chiefly indebted to Dr. S. R. Maitland, Moses Stuart, and the Germans." In this short sentence there are just three false assertions.
In relation to my indebtedness to Dr. Maitland, I shall merely transcribe the following from the Preface to the third volume of the Introduction:-" When the article in question was written [the article in the Eclectic,' against the year-day theory], the author had not seen one of Maitland's pamphlets. He knew them only by Birks's and Elliott's attempted refutation of the view advocated in them. The few words he quoted out of one or two of them were borrowed from these writers. In re-writing the article for the present work, the author has had before him the pamphlets in question; but it will be seen, that the substance and arguments remain as they were. Mr. Bickersteth's statement [the same as your correspondent's] is wholly without foundation." Page ix.
he simply turned to them; but that was to
In relation to the Germans, it is wholly untrue that I am in this respect indebted to them. I differ from them very materially, as far as I am acquainted with them. But I have never read so many as two German commentaries on the Revelation. Doubtless these Germans are great plagues to your correspondent and Co. They are all Infidels and rationalists. People who read them, too, are no better.
Error 4. "The main difficulty attending this scheme, Dr. Davidson states to be, that 'it is a principle of interpretation with these expositors, that a day, in symbolical prophecies, stands for a year.' This principle he affirms to be unwarrantable;' and upon this ground, he feels justified in dismissing at once, without further ceremony, all expositors who maintain the favourite year-day theory. We do not think this a very logical or very critical mode of proceeding."
There are more misstatements than one in these words, and in the paragraph from which they are quoted.
a. I do not say that the principle of interpretation which takes a day for a year, is in my view the main difficulty against the continuous scheme.
b. I did not feel justified in dismissing at once, without further ceremony, all expositors who maintain the year-day theory. On the contrary, the reader of my book will see, that I have mentioned four difficulties, besides the year-day principle, lying against the continuous scheme. Hence I have not dismissed it at once, without ceremony, on the ground of that principle alone.
In relation to Mr. Stuart, I also transcribe the following from the same Preface:-"With regard to repeating, copying, or following Stuart, in the article on the Apocalypse, written for Kitto's Cyclopædia, nothing can be farther from the truth. It was not till that article had been printed and published, that Stuart's work on the Apocalypse came to hand across the Atlantic. Mr. Elliott [who had made a similar statement to your correspondent's] would have seen this fact stated, in the note to an article which follows 'Revelation,' by Dr. Wright, had he been disposed to a little candour (see p. 714). How Dr. Davidson could imitate, follow, or copy, a book he had not seen, is left to the commentator on the Apocalypse to explain. Nor has Dr. Davidson yet read Stuart's 'Commentary on the Apocalypse.' He has purposely refrained from its perusal. All the observations now written are independent Error 5. "Dr. Davidson asserts that the of Stuart's. When he wanted to get at the Reformers had a very low opinion of the Professor's opinion on two or three passages, | Apocalypse;' an assertion which, to adopt
C. "The learned critic" did not persuade himself that if he should succeed in refuting the direct arguments adduced by the advocates of the year-day theory, the whole scheme of historical interpretation must be at once exploded. Your correspondent affirms that I did so persuade myself. Obviously not, from b.
his own language, surprises us by its boldness. A few rash, unguarded expressions of Luther's are surely not to be cited in opposition to his mature and deliberate opinions."
problem, which few can solve." (p. 631.) Doubtless, it was not convenient for your adopted critic to quote these words. Wishing to dwell on my dogmatism and dicta, he has avoided reference to this language, lest it should appear too plainly that he is a one
If the writer means by "an assertion which, to adopt his own language, surprises us by its boldness," that I have said of the German Re-sided, partisan-like writer. formers what is incorrect, (and I cannot see what other meaning he intends to convey), he should have proved it to be so. I stand by the statement as one founded on fact. Carlstadt, Zwingli, Erasmus, (who may, in one sense, be ranked among the Continental Reformers), Luther, doubted or disbelieved the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. I could quote their words; but it would occupy some pages to do so. Now, whoever doubts or denies that the book was written by an apostle, has, in my view, "a very low opinion of it."
Again, the writer speaks of "a few rash, unguarded expressions of Luther's" as not to be cited in opposition to his mature and deliberate opinions." Here a false impression is conveyed in regard to Luther. His early opinion and his mature opinion were identical. He never departed from his first opinion, which was unfavourable to the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. He expressed the opinion in milder language, in 1534, than he had done in 1522; but the opinion itself remained the same. All this I have stated in vol. iii. p. 551, which, if the critic had read, he would not have written as he has done. But I suppose the case to be here, as it was with regard to my Preface. He did not read what I wrote before he rushed to the task of criticising; and therefore, he repeated things which I had expressly shown to be false. have heard that reviewers often sit in judgment on books without condescending to read them through; if so, it is a bad and dishonest practice.
But I must conclude. I really have not time to expose all the misstatements of your chosen critic. I must therefore dismiss the subject, and write no more about it in the pages of a magazine. The editor may rest assured that I shall take no more notice of effusions against me in the pages of his Magazine, with reference to my view of the Apocalypse. I am satisfied that none of the four leading schemes of interpretation applied to it is right, and have assigned my reasons for so believing, except with regard to the Extreme Futurist, which is quite extravagant. But I am not sure about the correct view. In my opinion, Hengstenberg has approached it. I beg to repeat here what I have said:"To enter upon the exposition of these parts [the seven parts of the Apocalypse] is beyond our province. Perhaps it is beyond our ability to unfold their meaning. To interpret the Apocalypse aright is a difficult
And now the language of my late lamented fellow-labourer, Professor Stuart, will serve as a fitting conclusion to this paper. I leave it with your champion of the continuous scheme. "On what grounds have you based your opinion? Have you studied the book in its | original language; sought for light on every side, from history and from antiquities; and, above all, have you thoroughly and simply applied to it, irrespective of any favourite and preconceived notions about it, the established principles of historico-grammatical exegesis? And do you even know, with any certainty, what those principles are? If not, how much is your opinion worth, even in your own eyes, when you look candidly at such a difficult matter as the interpretation of the book before us?
"If, here and there, a self-complacent critic of my Commentary on the Apocalypse, had asked himself such questions before he sat down to write his diatribe, the public would have been spared a deal of à priori interpretation and spider-web theories. Some had written their book on the same work of John, and mine disagreed with it. Hinc illa lachrymæ. Some had read that profound work of Bishop Newton on the Prophecies; and because I did not agree with him, I must be in the wrong. The most confident of my condemning judges were, of course, those who could not read a word of the original, and would not be able to form any idea what one means, who talks about historico-grammatical interpretation. I have no defence to make against any such assailants."
THE REVIEWER'S REPLY TO
THAT Dr. Davidson's views of the Apocalypse are not stated in his present scheme for the first time, but were put forth in the "Eclectic Review" some years ago.
The following are the Doctor's own words in the Preface to Vol. iii. of his Introduction: "The dissertation on Designations of Time, was inserted in the Eclectic Review' for Dec. 1844. It is now reprinted in an enlarged and improved form, without any material change." In that article, the Doctor's "views" were plainly indicated.
That his views were repeated in Kitto, &c.
to make his dissertation as complete as possible. For the ready kindness evinced in this and other matters, he begs thus publicly to tender his obligations to that accomplished writer."-Pref. p. xi.
"It will be seen, that some of the observa-
That Dr. Davidson is chiefly indebted to Dr. S. R. Maitland, Moses Stuart, and the German writers. We shall cite Dr. Davidson's own language upon this point: "On the one side" (of the question relating to the designations of time), "Maitland and Burgh are the most able. In America, the indefatigable Stuart has taken up the same ground as the former."... "It will not be expedient to repeat all the grounds that have been so well stated by Maitland and Stuart, except in so far as may be demanded by complete answers to Birks and Bush."-Introd. iii. pp. 510, 511.
Stuart's Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy are cited, p. 516; his Commentary on Daniel, ib., and p. 530; his Commentary on the Apocalypse three or four times, but not always with approval. Maitland is cited at pp. 510, 511, 517, 526, 532, 533 bis, 535, 536, 622, 623, 624, 626; and almost always as an authority.
"In re-writing the article" (in the 'Eclectic')" for the present work, the Author has had before him the pamphlets in question" (Maitland's). "But he had not seen them," he says, 66 when he wrote that article." He knew them only by Birks's and Elliott's attempted refutation. We submit that this has nothing to do with the use made of them in the present work. With Mr. Elliott's, Mr. Birks's, and Mr. Bickersteth's statements, of which Dr. Davidson so angrily complains in his Preface, we have nothing to do. The numerous coincidences between Dr. Davidson and the American writer, which led Mr. Elliott to charge the former with being a copyist, may be the result of their being both indebted to Lucke and other German writers. We have never charged Dr. Davidson with being a mere copyist. We have only given him credit for having read the commentators | and critics he continually cites or refers to with so much familiarity. Will he disown his obligations to Lücke, Hengstenberg, and others, whose works he commends?
To Dr. S. R. Maitland, indeed, he acknowledges peculiar obligations. "The Author has to thank the Rev. Dr. S. R. Maitland for some manuscript notes relating to the early fathers, supposed to favour the year day theory, of which he has freely availed himself
That Dr. Davidson considers the main difattending the continuous scheme to be, that the year-day theory is " a principle with these expositors." At p. 622, Dr. Davidson thus enumerates "a few of the difficulties inherent in the scheme":
a. "It is a principle with these expositors" that a day stands for a year.
b. "The absence of appeal to a great part of the Apocalypse as already past, in controversy with infidels, shows that the fulfilment has not made the predictions clear."
C. "This scheme assumes, that one of the Beasts described in the xiiith chapter describes the Roman Popes, &c. . . . . Such proof has been often attempted. But we are persuaded that it has failed."
d. "It is impossible to make out the 1260 years' reign of Anti-Christ, &c."
e. "Taking Elliott's interpretation of the Sixth Seal, ... every impartial inquirer must reject a scheme that resorts to such methods of elucidating Scripture language."
Our readers will judge whether the first difficulty of the five, which alone is insisted upon at any length in the dissertation (the subject occupying the first twenty-eight pages), is unfairly represented as being his "main difficulty." The others, we submit, are not difficulties, but mere assertions of the writer's opinions. Dr. Davidson has treated with very little ceremony all who maintain this theory.
That Dr. Davidson erroneously asserts that the Reformers (and especially Luther) had a very low opinion of the Apocalypse.
This is really the only point of importance.
I. LUTHER. In 1522, at the time of concluding the translation of the New Testa ment, Luther had come to doubt of the genuineness of the Apocalypse as an inspired book. Yet, in his treatise "De AntiChristo," 1521, he alludes in more than one place to the Apocalypse as a prophetic book; as well as in his answer to the Pope's Bull, dated, December, 1520. In 1528, he republished an Apocalyptic Commentary written in the fourteenth century: and in 1534, he prefixed to the Apocalypse in his great edition of the German Bible, a brief explanatory exposition, notwithstanding his doubts as to its apostolic authorship. In his "Table Talk," which exhibits his views in later life, there are repeated references to the Apocalyptic predictions.-See Elliott, vol. iv. pp. 424-428.
II. Bullinger, in 1537, published an Ex- and dishonest practice" would recoil on the position of the Apocalypse in Latin, dedicated, as a book well fitted to supply consolation, to all the exiles from France, England, Italy, and other kingdoms. He makes the Two-horned Beast to be the Papal AntiChrist, the same as Daniel's Little Horn, and St. Paul's Man of Sin.
III. Bale, Bishop of Ossory, in the reign of Edward VI., had published shortly before, his Apocalyptic Commentary, under the title of the "Image of both Churches."
IV. Fulke, Master of Pembroke Hall, published his "Prelections on the Apocalypse" in 1557.
V. Chrytræus of Wittenberg, in 1563, published his "Explicatio Apocalypsis," in which he follows Bullinger for the most part, making the Second Beast to be Rome Pontifical.
VI. Augustus Marlort's Exposition of the Revelation, published in 1574, is professedly "collected out of divers notable writers of the Protestant Churches; viz., Bullinger, Calvin, Gaspar Meyander, Justus Jonas, Lambertus, Musculus, Ecolampadius, Pellicanus, Meyer, Viret." See Elliott, vol. iv. p. 445.
VII. Foxe, the Martyrologist, left behind him his "Commentary on the Apocalypse," published by his son, in 1587, which is replete with learning and profound thought.
VIII. Brightman's Commentary, dedicated to "the Holy Reformed Churches of Britany, Germany, and France," appeared in A.D. 1601. IX. Pareus's Commentary, the substance of Lectures delivered in 1608, in the University of Heidelberg, was published in 1615.
THE Editor feels it to be his duty, as much as possible, to repress, in the pages of the EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE, the use of severe and contemptuous language. It is wrong in itself, a positive subtraction from the force of a good argument, an offence against sound learning, and altogether unseemly in reference to such a matter as the right interpreta. tion of the Revelation of the Apostle John.
We cannot see that our Reviewer, so severely complained of, has transgressed in this way. He has neither written harshly nor contemptuously; and our readers must judge for themselves how far he has done our respected friend Dr. Davidson injustice. We think he has very fairly substantiated all he meant to assert.
We could have earnestly wished that Dr. Davidson had consented to withdraw the not very kind words of the late Professor Stuart, addressed to certain critics who objected to his theory of the Apocalypse. But as Dr. Davidson has refused to do so, we must be permitted, without offence, to say that the American Professor's very severe and contemptuous language has no pertinency as applied to our Reviewer, who reads the Apocalypse, in the original, with great care, and has no mean judgment in matters pertaining to Biblical interpretation. We speak advisedly, and fear not the result.
We sincerely trust that those who aim, no doubt from honest purposes, to introduce a X. To these may be added Bishop Jewel, theory of Apocalyptic interpretation quite new who, in his Exposition of the Epistles to the in this country, will have a little patience Thessalonians, bears explicit testimony to the with multitudes of wise, learned, and holy identity of the Man of Sin and the Apoca- men, who cannot renounce their present conlyptic Two-horned Beast with the Papal Anti-victions till their reason and common-sense Christ; citing from Bernard the remarkable declaration made four hundred years before, "The Beast that is spoken of in the Revelation is got into Peter's chair."
Taking no notice whatever of these commentators, Dr. Davidson, after denying that Luther ever departed from his first opinion, cites, as opposed to the dominant opinion in favour of the apostolic authorship of the book, Zwingle, Carlstadt, Erasmus, Haffenreffer, Heerbrand, and John Schröder." Whether these names will bear out the bold assertion, that "the Reformers had a very low opinion of the Apocalypse," our readers will judge. Dr. Davidson supposes that the critic had not read what he has stated at vol. iii. p. 551. He is mistaken; and, were he disposed to recriminate, the charge of "a bad
have been taken captive. Why should they?
If the actual amount of evidence on both sides of this Biblical question is to be fairly and satisfactorily weighed, we must have great patience and forbearance with one another. At present, we see no sufficient reason for quitting the old Protestant strongholds. To us they seem impregnable; and it will take a great deal of hard argument to shake our faith in them; or to convince us that such a religious system as Popery has no express portraiture in the word of God. Meanwhile, after reading Hengstenberg with great care, we are stronger than ever in our ancient beliefs. The Apocalypse is a difficult book; but Hengstenberg has by no incaus removed the veil.
As when, at length, the last, last anchor's chain
Has loosed its hold, and left the shattered
Drifting along, a prey to furious waves,
With breathless haste, the signal of distress,
So, when each earthly tie has left the soul
"Lord, save, we perish!" soon the shivering
With tattered sails, and worsted by the storm,
S. S. S.
Review of Religious Publications.
THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN, EXPOUNDED FOR THOSE WHO SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES. By E. W. HENGSTENBERG, Doctor and Professor of Theology in Berlin. Translated from the Original, by the Rev. PATRICK FAIRBAIRN, Author of " Typology of Scripture," fc. Volume the First. 8vo.
book, should as soon as possible be made accessible to those who desire to possess it."
The devout spirit and simplicity of purpose which this prefatory explanation bespeaks, are conspicuously displayed in the Exposition itself; and the reverence for the word of God and the evangelical piety which characterize Dr. Hengstenberg's writings, are
refreshing contrast with the cold, dry, and flippant style of many modern German critics. We bear our willing testimony to the merits of the present work in these respects; but we are certainly unable to subscribe to the encomium pronounced upon it by Dr. Samuel Davidson, as being "the only one which approaches the true scope and sense of the Apocalypse," or to think with him, that it "traces the right lines of a correct interpretation." It was not likely, we think, that the pious and learned Author should, under the circumstances, have excogitated for himself an exposition of critical value. The counsel and comfort he sought in the practical instruction to be derived from studying it, he obtained. But he set out with the idea of making a discovery for himself, instead of carefully ascertaining what prior investigations had ascertained; and almost at the outset, we find him taking for his guidance an hypothesis, or false conclusion, as "a touchstone," which could not but lead him astray. Upon the words, " which must shortly come to pass," Rev. i. 1, Dr. Hengstenberg says:
Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark. 1851. THE circumstances under which Dr. Heng-in stenberg undertook the present work, are somewhat singular and interesting, while they serve to account for certain peculiarities in the performance. The Revelation, he says in the Preface, was for a long time a shut book to him. That it was necessary to lay open a new path, differing alike from the course pursued in the older ecclesiastical, and from that of the modern rationalistic school, he never doubted; but his constantly renewed attempts at fresh investigations accomplished nothing to his satisfaction; and he did not ccase to long for the time when an insight might be granted him into its wonderful depths At length, some years ago, during a season of heavy affliction, which compelled him to discontinue for some months his official duties, he looked about for a rod and staff that might comfort him, and lighted on the Revelation." Day and night he pondered on it, and one difficulty vanished after another, till there remained scarcely a point of any moment respecting which he did not think that he had obtained light. And now he has resolved to bring out the first volume alone, "because the Revelation has a very close relation to the wants of the present time;" and he reckoned it his duty "to endeavour that the rich treasures of counsel and comfort which the Lord has provided for us in this
"The fulfilment of what is announced in the Revelation, is here placed in the immediate future. So, also, in other passages. According to ver. 3, and ch. xxii. 10, the time is near. I come quickly,' says the Lord, in xxii. 7, 12, 20; iii. 11; ii. 5, 16. These de